For the first time in its 31-year history, Kentucky Downs is offering three $1-million races during its six-date 2021 meet. Added to the track's GII Calumet Turf Cup, Kentucky Downs' $1-million trio also will feature the GIII Turf Sprint and GIII WinStar Mint Million.
Kentucky Downs will stage 16 stakes worth a track-record total of $10 million, including $4.85 million in purse supplements for registered Kentucky-bred horses. The all-grass meet runs Sept. 5, 6, 8, 9, 11 and 12.
“Purses are the economic engine of the racing industry, and Kentucky Downs is proud to be a leader helping Kentucky stamp itself as the premier racing circuit in America,” said Ron Winchell, Kentucky Downs' co-owner and managing partner with Marc Falcone. “We're only six days, but winning one of our stakes–or even one of our overnight races–can make the entire year for an owner. Many horsemen tell us that money they earn at our meet gets promptly reinvested in the industry the next week at Keeneland's September Yearling sale. Such investment impacts countless small businesses that are part of Kentucky's equine agribusiness.”
A total of nine Kentucky Downs stakes received purse hikes. That includes the GIII Ladies Turf jumping from $500,000 to $750,000. The Music City for 3-year-old fillies and Untapable for 2-year-old fillies, worth $400,000 in their inaugural runnings last year, now enjoy $500,000 purses.
The Kentucky Downs' stakes purses reflect contributions of up to 50% from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF) for horses born in and sired by stallions in the Commonwealth. The 2021 meet's Kentucky-bred stakes supplements were approved Tuesday by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission's KTDF Advisory Committee.